What is the Sam Linebacker in Football?
The term "sam linebacker" in football is used to describe the strong side linebacker in the standard 4-3 defense. In football, the strong side is defined as the side with the most offensive players and therefore the most offensive threats; it is typically the same side as the tight end. Other similar terms for linebackers are the "mike linebacker and "will linebacker," which refers to the middle and weak side linebackers.
Linebackers line up behind the defensive linemen, about a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. The sam linebacker is responsible for providing consistent run support and stopping runners from getting through gaps. At times, the position is also required to drop for zone or man-to-man coverage on receivers. The sam linebacker's role could fall more heavily on pass coverage or stopping runs, but this depends on the team. Either way, sam linebackers need to have the ability to move, turn, and accelerate quickly, as speed is very important to play the position. The sam linebacker will usually line up a few yards back from the line of scrimmage and across from the tight end. Being on the strong side, the sam linebacker plays a vital role in the defense's success and must be a consistent and reliable player.